A form of metal or stone divination using idols, images, Teraphim (images of human shape kept in ancient households) or figures. It is closely related to Agalmatomancy.
In ancient times, when temple priests were trained in the art of making automata, huge metal or stone statues were allegedly made to come to life for the purpose of making utterances about the future. The belief that spirits were capable of inhabiting statues was widespread, and it was thought that these idols could be made to reveal secrets of futurity by those who knew how to obtain it.
The prophetic answers may come through dreams, by drawing lots, or anything else that believers attributed to the power of such images. Some ancient oracles belonged in this category, and pagan priests often spoke from within hollow statues to give direct replies to questions regarding the future.
In many cases, Idolomancy has been closely identified with Demonomancy, in as much as the idols simply represent the demons who are supposed to inhabit them when properly invoked.
Diviners of old habitually used small altars decked with deities effigies for oracular purposes. Phallic idols, besides being objects of worship by primitive cultures, were also often used for the purposes of divination and oracular consultation.
The ancients, specially the Hebrews, also believed that Teraphim, house-gods mounted on the wall, would talk to people, giving advice and making prognostications. These practices were often tolerated in early Israelite history, until they were finally outlawed in King Josiah's reform.
An old English folktale tells of a priest who brought the gargoyles of his church to life and they flew through the city at night so that no one could see them. City folk at first did not believe in the priest's tales and he was removed from the church. Afterwards it was found out that many of his predictions, allegedly learned from the gargoyles, had come true.
See Astrology, Acutomancy, Agalmatomancy, Divination, Coscinomancy, Cleidomancy, Augur, Stoichomancy, Dowsing, Tarot, Heptameron, Demonology, Sortilege, Demonomancy, Tephramancy, Anemoscopy, Eromancy, Austromancy, Chaomancy, Roadomancy, Capnomancy, Pyromancy, Meteormancy, Ceraunoscopy, Zoomancy, Mystic Gifts and Charms - New Age Gift Shop & Wicca and Pagan Supplies, Love Spells -- Use these powerful love spells to help you find and keep your true love, The Tarot Store, The Chakra Store, Divination & Scrying Tools and Supplies, Unique Amulets, Talismans, Good Luck Charms, and Love Tokens, Powerful Witch Doctor Spell Kits, Powerful Spells - Cast by Andreika the Witch, Webmasters Make $$$, AzureGreen - Celebrating All Paths to the Divine, ISIS - Tools for Your Soul's Journey, and The Pyramid Collection - Myth, Magick, Fantasy and Romance.
Sources: (1) Walker, Charles, The Encyclopedia of the Occult, Random House Value; (2) Jeffers, Ann, Magic and Divination in Ancient Palestine and Syria, Brill Academic Publishers.
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